Kaspersky Internet Security Center

Is Your Child Online Constantly? Time to Think About Parental Controls

By Ann Biddlecom

Our next guest blog post for Internet safety month comes from Ann Biddlecom, Senior Product Manager at Kaspersky Lab, one of the world's leading Internet security companies. Read on for her take on keeping your children safe on the computer.

Kids are spending more and more time on the Internet, from research for school work to chatting with friends via social media. A recent study showed that 75 percent of kids ages three and older are using the Internet, and that number is only increasing. Although most of this time is spent with harmless activities, it can also present risks. Kids may be exposed to inappropriate content, viruses and other dangers. As a parent, you want to make sure your kids are safe while surfing the Internet.

It’s not realistic to keep your kids offline entirely, or observe every website they visit; however, it is realistic to prepare them for a digital future and coach them so they can make the right decisions. One of the most important things to do as a parent is start an open dialogue with your kids. Talk about online safety and be specific about your concerns, letting your kids know that there are safe and unsafe websites they can and cannot visit. Just as you teach your kids not to talk to strangers on the street, talk about resisting contact with strangers on the internet and immediately telling you if they are contacted by an unknown person or encounter anything that makes them uncomfortable.

In addition to starting a dialogue, here are some other tips parents can follow to ensure their kids stay safe online:

  • Protect personal information.
    Teach your kids to protect personal information, both their own and others’. Make sure your kids know never to share passwords, phone numbers, addresses, or other personal information, and to never post pictures or information about other people without their permission.

  • Be aware of what you click.
    Sometimes dangerous links can come from friends and acquaintances if their computer has been hacked. Since the bad guys do a good job of disguising bad links, it’s important that your kids are wary of what they click. Make sure your kids understand that computer viruses can harm files and the performance of the computer.

  • Install parental controls.
    Installing a suite of parental controls will help monitor your kids’ Internet use, as well as protect your home computer. Parental Controls can do the following:

    • Restrict or Block Content.
      You can block entire categories of objectionable material, so you don’t have to worry about typing specific sites to block. Just find a program that will block all sites deemed “pornographic,” “violent,” “gambling,” or “online shopping” and you’re done.

    • Monitor as Much (or as Little) as You Want.
      If you’re concerned your kids are having inappropriate conversations online, you can monitor email and Instant Message conversations. Customize settings to have full transcripts of each chat saved for your review, or have certain keywords automatically flagged to your attention.

    • Place Limits on PC or Internet Usage.
      You can limit the total number of hours of usage in a day if you’re concerned your kids spend too much time on the computer. You can also place time limits; for example, your kids can only use the Internet after 5pm, when you’re home to supervise.

Kaspersky PURE 3.0 Total Security delivers the ultimate protection for your PC, including all of the above controls to ensure your children are safe and responsible on the computer. Consider looking for a security solution that includes protections for your children online.

By beginning with these steps, and being open and consistent in your approach your kids will better understand the importance of being safe online and quickly develop good online habits.